Update, 6:27 p.m. The intersection is now open, according to the Berkeley Police Department.
Update, 6 p.m. As per the Berkeley Police Department, “The intersection of University and Shattuck is closed due to a demonstration. It is unknown when the intersection will reopen.”
Original post, 5:01 p.m. As supporters of increasing the minimum wage to $15 marched through Berkeley late Wednesday afternoon, authorities warned of traffic and delays in the area, and helicopters hovered overhead to capture the action.
“Due to a protest march along Bancroft Way, Shattuck Avenue, University Avenue, and Martin Luther King Jr. Way/Milvia Street, there will be delays and possible detours in the downtown Berkeley area tonight, April 15,” according to an email alert sent by AC Transit at 4:46 p.m.
The Berkeley Police Department followed several minutes later with a Nixle alert just after 4:50 p.m.: “Currently, a large demonstration march is occurring in the City of Berkeley. The group is marching west on Bancroft Way from Telegraph Avenue. They will be marching in the Downtown area of Berkeley, with a planned ending destination of Shattuck Avenue and University Avenue.”
Police said the march was causing traffic delays in the area: “Please consider alternate routes when traveling in the downtown area.”
Berkeleyside’s Kate Williams was on the scene, and many people wondered on Twitter about helicopters hovering overhead.
Speakers from Restaurant Opportunity Centers United, the California Faculty Association, Black Lives Matter, and union representatives from UC Berkeley spoke to the crowds gathered at Sproul Plaza at 3 p.m.
Devonte Jackson, from Black Lives Matter, insisted that activists from his movement and the Fight for 15 movement should be united. “We’re here to connect the dots” between all forms of state sanctioned violence, he said. “Income inequality is also state sanctioned violence.”
Maricruz Manzanarez, of the UC system’s AFSCME Local 3299, which represents workers at 10 University of California campuses and five medical centers, also spoke about bringing together different movements. To the fast food workers in the crowd, she said, “You are not alone. We are all willing to help fight for what is right.”
Read past coverage of the minimum wage issue.
Berkeleyside updated this story as the situation developed.
‘Fight for 15′ rallies planned for East Bay on April 15 (04.14.15)
Do you rely on Berkeleyside for local news? Support independent journalism by becoming a Berkeleyside member for $5 a month or even less, or by making a one-time donation.